So there I was, foolishly thinking the work trimming trees was done, The Saturday turned into Sunday, slid into Monday as the work continues on the “Mango Tree Project” (that could be the name of a jazz band). We paid our crew of four original workers, and then we noticed six more teenagers had joined the work force. The offending tree was felled, the stump was dug out, but it was so big no one could move it. That now we required Bong, and his crew of 4 helpers plus a chainsaw (that failed more than it cut) to break up the stump into smaller pieces. Bringing the payroll up to 14 workers, it’s funny how they just showed up.
The original crew of (now) ten had moved on to trim the other five Mango trees that bordered our land, while Bong and the chainsaw boys toiled on the huge stump. This trimming was Typhoon protection for my house during the next big blow.
Now the neighbors are there in full force, jungle Bolo’s in hand extracting firewood from the discarded tree limbs. There is a train of ladies moving their treasure back to their homesteads while husbands and sons trim and stack. The mood is friendly, and the conversations fluid. It is what we would call “A Happening” back in my Woodstock Days.
While I was with the group Sunday, the teenagers told of an adventure they had on Friday night down in Dinalupihan town. It seems that one young man found the keys to his father’s car, and decided to load it up with seven friends and go touring. The trip was further enhanced by two long neck bottles of Brandy, “Emparador”, or better known as “Emparaflu.” Then, as the night progressed, and during an un-thought-out U-turn, they hit a Trike, the driver of the Trike flew for 30 feet, but landed in some bushes and was just shook up, and the scoff laws were subjected to minor cuts and bruises. Dad’s car was impounded, and our wayward travelers were returned to their parents loving arms. I was shaking my head in a disdainful manner, as I walked away thinking to myself; “It’s a story any teenager could tell, as I’d done it too, when I was at their age.” But I didn’t want them to know that!
Monday afternoon, all the trimming is completed, everyone is paid, the empty lot is cleaned and restored to a better condition than when we started, as all the trash had been removed also.
Then on Tuesday I received a call from one of our LiP readers, Mr. Frank Fealey who was visiting with his wife and two sons from South Africa. The following day I drove to the Barrio where they were staying at the Arizona Resort overlooking Subic Bay. Frank and I had already met last year when he was flying through on business, and we had spent the day together then, but this year he was back to visit with his wife’s Family, and was on vacation. It was another good day that I enjoyed with Frank and yes cocktails were involved, and I’d hope to do it again.
So there in a nutshell, is a quick sample of the life of a retired Sailor, living in his patch of paradise, boarding the South China Sea. Now Bob has said many times that; “There is no paradise.” And for all I know, it could be true. But if the real thing comes along, I’ll be prepared, as I have plenty of practiced by living here. As Paul Keating wrote last week; “Life’s A Beach” and I’ll guarantee he didn’t spell “Beach” wrong.
Wow! My second quote from Paul “K” in as many weeks!